Before Uncle David’s funeral out at Springvale more than a decade ago, I had no idea that his only daughter, my cousin Janet, who was the youngest of our late mother’s bridesmaids, and in later life nobly accepted the charge and responsibility of being my godmother, served also as a junior member of the staff of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, briefly pursuing a career in counterespionage, and that, at one point in the early to mid-1960s, Cousin Janet covertly tailed a relatively low-level visiting delegation of lumpen Soviet officials when they traveled north by train from Spencer Street to find out all about certain improvements in animal husbandry at the annual Wangaratta Agricultural Show, or such, at least, was the dubious pretext of their expedition, a task of surveillance that would have been much easier if Cousin Janet had spoken any Russian, although she may have been issued with advanced tape-recording equipment or a microphone and a powerful miniature radio transmitter that, concealed inside the bodice, trench coat or handbag, might well have captured for the benefit of more specialist, fluently Russian-speaking analysts in Canberra any stray but pertinent snippets of conversation, the evidence perhaps of sinister Soviet connivance with local fifth-columnist elements, a cadre of enemy operatives bent upon the destruction of the Commonwealth, or else the activation of a communist mole in the Riverina, even, I daresay, a dirty-tricks campaign in respect of the distribution of prizes for dairy cattle and other livestock or maybe cake decoration, the better to sow bitter seeds of discord in an otherwise harmonious rural community hitherto committed to free enterprise and untouched by the dead hand of international socialism or various subtler forms of Kremlin-sponsored Marxist-Leninist ideology, as deeply improbable as any of these scenarios admittedly now strikes one, although it should be remembered that back then the cold war was mighty frigid, and the membrane separating just suspicions from total paranoia was quite porous, so I have no doubt that Miss Wilberforce—for this, I gather, was one of the aliases adopted from time to time by Cousin Janet’s ASIO controller in Melbourne, a gray-cropped spinster lady with somewhat gruff but otherwise impeccable manners and certainly a great deal of common sense, from whom Uncle David boldly sought personal assurances in the beginning that his beloved only daughter would never be put in harm’s way, assurances that Miss Wilberforce politely regretted she could not possibly give, except to state with firmness that every measure would be taken to safeguard each and all of her personnel in the discharge of their important intelligence-gathering duties—Miss Wilberforce, I am certain, would have taken just as seriously the protection of Australia’s pastoral industries against any foreign threat, in Wangaratta no less than in Cunnamulla, Read More
Team |1|2|3|4|5|6|7 Total TPR |1|0|0|1|3|2|0 7 VF |3|0|1|0|0|1|1 6
Last Tuesday marked the end of this summer’s softball season, and The Paris Review went out in style, coming from behind to take a spirited contest from arch nemesis (one of many, surely) Vanity Fair. It was a contentious affair, bookended by two controversial calls: a play at home plate in the first, and a play at first in the bottom half of the seventh. Due to superior oratory skills (and truth), the former went our way, resulting in a TPR run; due to the notion that a team cannot possibly be right twice in the same game, the latter went to Vanity Fair. (It ultimately only provided a brief respite from the inevitable.) Between the spats were many cheers, a few tears, and a lengthy discussion on the virtues of run-on sentences (decidedly none at all).
Instead of prattling on, I now present a gallery of photos, taken and curated by TPR’s own Alyssa Loh.
Before I go, a quick note to my teammates: Hell of a season. I’ll see you when I see you.